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Production no.: 477
Teleplay by: Nicholas Corea
Story by: Toni Marberry & Jack Trevino
Directed by: LeVar Burton
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: October 21, 1995
Penny Johnson .......
Marc Alaimo .........
Roy Brocksmith .....
Cyia Batten ...........
Thomas Prisco .......

Kira is doing her morning meditation when Worf calls to tell her she has an incoming transmission from a Razka Karn, who says he's an old friend. Razka is a Bajoran who was a smuggler during the Occupation, and now sells scrap metal. He has news for Kira: he's got a lead on the Ravinok, more specifically a fragment of metal that looks like part of the forward sensor array. Razka doesn't feel able to leave the Badlands, as people are after him, so Kira will have to go to him. "It's been six years," Kira says. "Even if you have found a piece of the Ravinok, it doesn't mean there are any survivors." "There's only one way for you to find out," Razka replies.

As Kira goes over the criminal activity reports with Odo later, her friend can't help but notice how distracted she seems. Finally she tells him she might have a lead on the Ravinok. "I know what you're going to say -- it's been six years since the Ravinok disappeared. Odds are, everyone on board is dead." "That all may be true," says Odo, "but that is not what I was going to say. I was going to say good luck." Kira had a friend on board the ship, by the name of Lorit Akrem, and therefore, Odo tells her, "it doesn't matter if I think there are any survivors, or even if you think there are any survivors. You're going to go looking for that ship. And all I can say is good luck, and I hope you find them."

Kira is packing later when Sisko comes in to ask her to postpone her trip. The Cardassian government has asked to send someone along with her; the Ravinok, after all, was a Cardassian ship. Kira doesn't care much for the idea, but finally agrees for the sake of Bajoran/Cardassian relations.

As Sisko and Dax are conversing in a corridor, Kasidy comes up to them with some exciting news. She has applied for a position with the Bajoran Ministry of Commerce to captain one of their freighters. She will be able to use her own ship and pick her own crew, and best of all, she will never have to leave this sector. Dax suggests that she take up residence on the station, and Kasidy thinks it's a good idea. However, all Sisko can muster up is a "yeah".

The Cardassian representative arrives: it's Dukat, now a Legate. Reluctantly, Kira leaves with him in a runabout, headed for the Badlands. Kira makes it clear that she is in charge here, and Dukat agrees. She asks why the Cardassian government sent him; he says the troops on the Ravinok were under his command, so it's his duty. He asks why she's here, and she admits that she knew someone on board, Lorit Akrem, who recruited her into the Shakaar. Dukat then starts spouting off on how much he admires her as the "embodiment of the new Bajor. A Bajoran born out of the ashes of the Occupation, a Bajoran tempered with Cardassian steel." Kira can't help but be amused. "Captain Sisko's right. You are in love with the sound of your own voice."

Dukat can't let it rest. "I know you find this hard to accept, but I believe that, in some ways, the Occupation actually helped Bajor." "Which part?" asks Kira. "The massacres or the strip mining?" Dukat claims that because of the Occupation, Bajor is stronger. "When we arrived, you were a weak, contemplative race, choking on your isolation. And now you have a new confidence, a whole new sense of purpose, not to mention a key role in the future of this entire quadrant." "All of which Bajor accomplished in spite of the Cardassians, not because of them," Kira counters. But Dukat goes on to say he believes Cardassia and Bajor will eventually grow to be close friends. Kira isn't interested in his veiled romantic insinuations. "Bajor and Cardassia, maybe. You and me, I doubt it." She requests silence, and when he complies, begins to believe they might survive this trip.

At dinner, Kasidy tells Sisko happily that she was offered the job, and accepted. "Congratulations," says Sisko. His lukewarm reaction both surprises and disappoints her. When she mentions getting quarters on the station, his response is, "That's a big step." Kasidy starts to get angry about his lack of enthusiasm. "I tell you I'm thinking about living on the station, and all you can say is, 'It's a big step?'" She accuses him of being afraid of commitment. "You know what? Forget the whole thing. I'm not going to take the job. If you don't want me to stay here, that's fine with me." She storms out, leaving Sisko wondering what just happened.

The runabout rendezvouses with Razka's ship, and Razka, looking askance at Dukat, shows them the piece of salvage, which he bought from a Ferengi. Dukat confirms from a tricorder that the metal is of Cardassian origin, and that it's from the Ravinok. Razka had learned via a bribe to one of the Ferengi's crewmembers that his last trip was to the Dozaria system; Dukat notes that there's a Class M planet there. Kira tells Razka she owes him one.

After they leave him, she and Dukat both speculate on what could have happened. Dozaria is light years away from where the Ravinok was supposed to be. Perhaps it was destroyed in an escape attempt by the Bajoran prisoners, or there may have been a navigational problem or subspace anomaly. When they reach Dozaria, and pick up what could be radiation from a damaged warp nacelle, they decide to land, and walk through the desert until they find the wreckage of the Ravinok.

Sisko consults with Dax and Bashir about his quarrel with Kasidy. He has no idea why she stormed off; all he said was "it's a big step". "It's ambiguous," says Bashir. "Definitely open to interpretation. But it could've been worse. He could've said, 'It's a very big step.'" Dax has a solution: Sisko humbles himself to Kasidy and pledges his undying love. Bashir advises admitting he made a mistake and he does want her to live on the station, assuming that that's true. Quark butts in with his Ferengi perspective, saying Sisko should show Kasidy who's boss. Sisko finally says he appreciates the advice, and will let them know how it turns out. Bashir then asks Dax what she thinks about Kasidy moving onto the station. "It's a big step," says Dax. "A very big step," Bashir agrees.

Kira notes that there are phaser hits on the Ravinok's hull. Also, there is a circle of twelve graves nearby. Dukat says he will try to identify the bodies, but when Kira offers to help, he says no. "Our funeral rites are very strict. It would dishonor the dead for a non-Cardassian to view the remains." Finally Kira says she'll work on the ship's computer. After she has gotten it working, she comes back out to see Dukat sitting bent over a Bajoran pledge bracelet he has found.

"What was her name?" she asks. "Her name was Tora Naprem," Dukat replies at last. Kira guesses correctly that this Tora Naprem was his Bajoran mistress. Dukat says it wasn't like that; they loved each other. "Did your wife know?" asks Kira. "No," Dukat says. "And she's never going to find out."

He hands Kira some earrings he found; she checks them and realizes Lorit's isn't among them. She notes that according to the logs, the Ravinok was attacked by two ships, chased here, and forced to crash-land. There may be survivors, possibly even still on the planet. There's too much interference to scan for them from orbit, but Kira believes she can track them by picking up tritonium isotopes from subdermal implants used by Bajoran resistance fighters. She picks up a trail, and they head off.

That night they come to a suitable campsite. Dukat sits down and immediately leaps up to his feet in pain. Kira yanks a huge thorn out of his backside and gives him a dermal regenerator. She can't help but laugh at the sight of Dukat bent over running the regenerator over his butt, not to mention that she has to remind him to turn it on. Dukat laughs too. After they quiet down, Kira asks him, "Who's Tora Ziyal?" She found the name in the ship's manifest, as the name of a 13-year-old girl who was aboard. And she knows that Ziyal is a Cardassian name. Dukat admits that Ziyal was his half-Bajoran daughter by Naprem. Kira thinks she knows now why Dukat is in such a hurry to find the survivors. "You're hoping that she's still alive, and you can rescue her." "Not quite," Dukat tells her quietly. "You see, if my daughter is still alive, I'll have no choice but to kill her."

As they march through the desert the next day, Kira makes it clear to Dukat that she will not let him kill his daughter. "There is nothing more important to a Cardassian than family. At least that's what your people are always saying." Dukat insists that that that's why he's doing it, to protect his family, meaning his wife and legitimate children. He made a mistake when he got involved with Naprem, and he intends to correct it. "Let me take her to Bajor," Kira suggests. "No one has to know that you're her father." "What kind of life would that be for her?" Dukat demands. "Your people have never exactly welcomed half-Cardassian children into your society. That's why I sent her and her mother away in the first place. I knew the Occupation was coming to an end, and that there'd be no place for them on Bajor, or Cardassia." The Ravinok was supposed to rendezvous with a freighter that would have taken Naprem and Ziyal to Lissepia.

When Kira asks why Dukat can't simply send Ziyal away again rather than kill her, he explains that his position isn't as stable now as it was then. He has enemies who wouldn't hesitate to use Ziyal against him. "Listen to you," Kira says angrily. "It's not your wife and your seven children you're protecting, it's you." Dukat, of course, doesn't recognize the contradiction; he says that by protecting himself, he is protecting them as well. "And the only one who suffers is Ziyal," Kira points out. "You would kill your own daughter to save your career. I don't understand you. You said you loved Naprem. I saw you crying at her grave." "I did love her," Dukat insists. "And when I bury Ziyal, I'll weep over her grave just as I wept over her mother's. But that will not stop me from doing what I have to do. Do you understand? And when the time comes, I suggest you stay out of my way."

When Sisko comes home for dinner, Jake tells him he and Nog have talked to Kasidy, and clearly Jake as well thinks his father is at fault. Sisko tries to explain how complicated things can get in a relationship, but Jake isn't buying. "It's pretty simple, Dad. You're scared." "What do I have to be afraid of?" asks Sisko. "A lot," Jake replies. "Kasidy's willing to make a major change in her life just to be close to you. If things don't work out, you're going to feel responsible. And that's scary." Jake, though, has talked it over with Nog, and they agree that Sisko has nothing to worry about. "If Kasidy wants to change jobs, that's her decision, not yours. Same thing if she wants to live on the station. If things don't work out, they don't work out."

Kira and Dukat reach a mineshaft entrance, and through binoculars watch a mixed group of Bajoran and Cardassian slaves being supervised by Breen guards. Kira guesses that the Breen are using the survivors of the Ravinok to mine dilithium. Then they catch sight of a girl with hybrid Bajoran and Cardassian features. It's Ziyal.

They argue a little about going for reinforcements; Kira has no intention of leaving Dukat to murder his daughter. So they devise a plan to rescue the prisoners. A little later, inside the mine, two Breen enter and shoot down a third one. They take off their helmets; it's Kira and Dukat, who then begin to organize the prisoners to escape. In response to Kira's query after Lorit, a Bajoran prisoner tells her he died in a cave-in two years ago. Dukat goes off to find Ziyal, as the Breen begin firing at them. Once the battle is over, Kira goes after him.

Finally Dukat finds Ziyal, and stands there with weapon at the ready. She is surprised and happy to see him. "Father? It's really you. Mother said you'd -- What's wrong?" As Dukat tries to hold on to his resolve, Kira arrives, aiming her rifle at him, warning him not to do it. "I have no choice," Dukat says. "There's always a choice," Kira retorts. "You don't want to do this. If you did, you never would have told me about Ziyal."

Dukat hesitates, and Ziyal realizes the situation. "The Cardassian prisoners, they told me this would happen. That you'd never let me go home. But I didn't believe them." Kira urges her to run, but Ziyal makes no move. "I used to dream about you coming to save me. That's what kept me alive...If I can't be with you, then I'd rather die." At last, Dukat lowers his rifle, and embraces her. "Let's go home," Dukat says.

Kasidy greets Sisko coolly when he enters the cargo bay as she is inventorying her load. He tells her he thinks she should take the job. "You've been talking to Jake," she notes. "...He's a smart boy. Must take after his mother." Sisko tells her sincerely that he's sorry. "I wanted to tell you how happy I was for you, for us. But it didn't come out that way. I was uncomfortable, and a little nervous...All right. A lot nervous. I haven't been in a serious relationship for a long time, and I didn't expect to be in one anytime soon. Until I met you. This life I lead, this job I do -- that's what got Jennifer killed. If anything ever happened to you -- " "Why not let me worry about that?" Kasidy asks. "That's what Jake said," Sisko admits, and she comments, "You see? Smart boy. Look, I could stay here and listen to you apologize all day, but I've got to get to Bajor." She informs him that she's already taken the job. "You think I'd give up a great opportunity just because you got cold feet? You're a good man, Benjamin Sisko. But you've got a lot to learn about women, especially this one." Sisko leans in for a kiss, but she avoids it with a smile and gets to work. He gets the message.

Back on the station, Kira tells Dax the tale as they walk on the Promenade. Dukat meets them, and tells Kira that Ziyal is waiting for him on his ship. He's taking her back to Cardassia with him. "After six years, she deserves a home, and a father." Kira wonders if this won't cause trouble for him. "I'll let you know," Dukat says, and walks away.

  • The location filming for this episode took place at Soledad Canyon (also used in "The Homecoming" and "The Ship").
  • The Breen (occasionally mentioned in TNG) were finally seen (sort of) for the first time in this episode.